Law, Culture & the Humanities 2012: Panel on “Global Citizens: Violence and the Transnational Subject” 1


The following is cross-posted from Legal Lacuna.

This past weekend in Fort Worth, TX, I was pleased to be part of the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities. This year’s theme was “Representing Justice.” Tweets can be found at #ASLCH.

Audrey Golden, Nicolette Bruner, and I formed a law and literature panel called Global Citizens: Violence and the Transnational Subject, graciously chaired by Marc Roark of The Literary Table. Here are the paper abstracts:

Translating the ‘Self’ from Central and Eastern Europe: Putting Theory to Practice thought the Works of Aleksandar Hemon and W.G. Sebald by Audrey Golden

The second half of the twentieth century has borne witness to forced migration and statelessness in numbers previously unimaginable within modernity. Through the works of Aleksandar Hemon, a Bosnian-American émigré writer, and W.G. Sebald, a second-generation German novelist, this paper looks to the narratives of displaced persons and questions the role literary theory might play in imagining the processes of transnational movement and of internal “self-translation” that emigrants must undertake. This paper conceives a broader and more abstract model of “translation” that looks beyond natural language to include a cultural self-translation, and then asks if such a process is fraught with previously unimagined identity problems, or whether, although stemming from acts of violence, translating oneself might have ameliorative qualities for an individual caught between places, or in “nowhere” spaces.

Corporate Citizenship as U.S. Empire in Richard Harding Davis’s Soldiers of Fortune by Nicolette Bruner

Published in 1897, Richard Harding Davis’s novel, Soldiers of Fortune, describes the travails of a mining company that operates in the fictional Latin American country of Olancho, a thinly-veiled version of Cuba. The hero, filibustering engineer Robert Clay, facilitates the success of the corporation through military and financial interventions in Olancho. Meanwhile, Clay romances and marries Hope, the young daughter of the sole owner of the company’s stock. In this paper, I examine how Davis complicates the boundaries between corporate employer and human employee even as he glorifies the deeply unequal relation between U.S. corporations and the countries they exploited for profit. Corporate imperialism, as represented by the incursion of the U.S. citizen stockholder and his employees upon Latin American territory, becomes more than a matter of domination, but also an illustration of the complex interdependencies between business, storytelling, and violence in the fin de siècle.

Another Vietnam: War, The Archive, and the USS Kirk by Mai-Linh K. Hong

In late 2010, National Public Radio (NPR) aired a special series about the USS Kirk, a U.S. naval ship that was sent during the fall of Saigon to rescue the “remnants” of the South Vietnamese navy. The rescue was accomplished partly by transferring the Vietnamese ships’ sovereignty to the U.S. through a change of flags, a peaceful, quasi-legal transformation that dislodges the conventional Vietnam War narrative of violence and moral failure. Placing this “never before told” redemption story in the context of today’s U.S. war in Afghanistan, my project examines NPR’s historical revisionism and its production of a new visual iconography for the war that has haunted all later U.S. wars. I argue that, with “the archive” a site of suspense in the Wikileaks era, the rewriting of Vietnam must be understood as a response to contemporary anxieties about American imperialism, militarism, and national identity.

Wrap up from ASLCH in Fort Worth 1


A few notes from this year’s conference.

  • The Association of for the Study of Law, Culture and Humanities Conference ended yesterday with a fury.   Table contributors Mai-Linh Hong from Legal Lacuna, and Marc Roark each presented papers and participated together on a panel titled Global Citizens: Violence and the Transnational Subject.  Mai Linh presented a paper titled Another Vietnam: War, the Archive and the USS Kirk.  Marc presented Re-Entering the Loneliness: Robert Penn Warren and the Exile.   Perhaps they will post a brief write up on their respective papers.
  • The folks at Texas Wesleyan were all incredibly hospitable.  I understand one faculty member bought lunch for several guests on Saturday.  Southern hospitality never gets old.
  • The keynote address was incredible.  Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis discussed their new book Re-Presenting Justice: Visual Narratives of Judgment and the Invention of Democratic Courts.  In the words of Austin Sarat, one of the respondents to the talk, the work represents “an audacious representation” and the “best for what we are attempting to do.”  I wanted to shell out $75.00 immediately.  The book looks incredible.  A Summary of the keynote was tweeted by Mai Linh.
  • If you were not following our TWEETS from the conference, you can access them here and here.  They are a little uneven, due to the depth of different talks.   Nevertheless, several were enjoyable.  I particularly enjoyed David Fisher’s Medea’s Laws: Reading Euripides’ Medea as Law and Literature.
  • This year’s conference was well done. Kudos to Linda Meyer and her organizing committee.  Next year’s conference is in London.

Live Tweeting from ASLCH Tomorrow #ASLCH Reply


 

Tomorrow and Saturday, myself (@warrenemerson) and Mai-Linh of Legal Lacuna (@legallacuna) will be live tweeting from the Association for the Study of Law Culture and Humanities.  Hashtag #ASLCH.  Follow us or come find us.  My offer still stands for a free drink to the winner.